FROM BRANDING WITH ADDIDAS TO MABATHO DESIGNS
Written by: Shanice Pillay
Former Durban University of Technology (DUT) student, Thobekile Mkhize used her expertise in sports management to fulfill her long life dream of being a designer.
Her long term experience in the working world led her to become a designer and marketing manager off Mabotho Designs, a company that designs women’s handbags.
Her strong work ethic stems from her teachings off her grandparents.
“I grew up in Umzinto in the KwaZulu-Natal Province and was raised by my grandparents. I grew up in a very well balanced home, one of the things that my grandparents taught me, was to always work hard, that’s when I moved to Durban and started studying at DUT,” said Mkhize.
After graduating with her Diploma in Sports Management, she started working with Addidas South Africa, which helped her bring her own brand into existence.
“Working for Addidas South Africa, I learnt so much in terms off developing a product and getting experience in designing a product,” she said.
Her job as a technical coordinator included her knowing each pair of running shoes, as well as training each shoe. In a space off eight years she has been with various other companies, which helped her expand her knowledge about products.
Working for Sanlam as an events assistant, gave her the business perspective she needed to venture off into opening her own.
“One of the challenges I experienced was trying to balance both, work and running my own business. After resigning five months ago to pursue my business full time, has been an interesting journey.
The significance of the company and its name stems from her father.
“‘Mabotho’ is an acronym of my father’s name as well as mine. ‘Sibongiseni’ was his name, which means ‘to be thankful’. I then decided to create a product which will enable us to honor the women of South Africa,” she said.
Each of her designs are unique and is made from genuine leather.
From international clients to local ones, Mkhize hopes that her brand will expand and reach higher heights.
One of the highlights for Mabotho Designs was when their product was given to Dr Nkosazane Dlamini-Zuma as a gift, from Mayor Zandile Gumede at the Women’s Empowerment Breakfast that took place earlier this month at the Essence Festival.
*Caption: Thobekile Mkhize with one of her designs known as the ‘Thandi’ bag.